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Sunday 19 May 2019

Long nets fastest Premier goal

RECORD: Shane Long. Pic; Reuters
RECORD: Shane Long. Pic; Reuters

Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history as Southampton edged another point closer to safety.

The Ireland striker fired his side ahead after 7.69 seconds at a stunned Vicarage Road.

But his first-minute goal was cancelled out by a last-minute one from Andre Gray as Watford secured a 1-1 draw.

The strains of Elton John's 'Rocket Man' had barely finished booming over the loudspeakers when Long gave Southampton lift-off.

The goal actually came from Watford's kick-off. Roberto Pereyra played the ball from the centre-circle back to defender Craig Cathcart some 40 yards from his own goal.

As Cathcart attempted to launch the ball up field, Long charged it down and raced through before lifting it over Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster.

The goal was a fraction more than two seconds quicker than the Premier League's previous fastest, scored by Tottenham's Ledley King in December 2000.

As well as writing a piece of history for himself, Long must have thought he had all but guaranteed Southampton's survival until Gray struck.

Had they held on, Saints would have been eight points clear of Cardiff, who sit in the final relegation spot and have just three matches remaining.

As it is, the six-point gap should be plenty, with the mission of Ralph Hasenhuttl, the manager brought in to save them from relegation, almost complete.

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